Why Do I do It?

Many visitors to this website will have encountered Simon Sinek. He is famous for the phrase ‘Start with the Why’. It would therefore seem arrogant not to take his advice.

If you want to know more about the Why, How and What of what I do regarding Innovation, then please read on. If you are impatient then you can click on the red button below and short circuit the process.

derek cheshire creativity and innovation rethinking

Do any of the issues listed below seem familiar?

“We are stuck and don’t know what to try next”
“COVID has devastated our business.”
“We’d like to innovate but we don’t know how.”
“We’re not sure we can afford Innovation.”
“We are under increased pressure to produce results.”

“We do not understand Innovation.”

So what, you might be saying. Yes, we all have issues but it is the action we take that matters. I firmly believe that the answer lies with Innovation and Reinvention. The difference between the two lies not in the attitudes, behaviours and actions we take but in the scope and extent of what we do.

Let me give you an example. During COVID many teaching and learning establishments swapped to online learning. The scope was not large at the start, moving a few courses online and the costs and effort involved were not that large. This was Reinvention or what some might call incremental Innovation.

Then there were individuals and companies who began streaming their activities, appearing more like broadcasters. They had offerings for both online and face to face. They had introduced ways of collaborative working, assessment and marking so that any client, anywhere in the world could buy their services. There are those that have gone even further with the scope and intensity. All these people have been Innovating.

The above examples purely illustrate a point. You can apply Reinvention or Innovation within any industry you like, no matter how creative or regulated it may be.

This is in effect change, but why is it better? First of all, it allows you to change your course of action and thrive (or at worst survive). Usually, you create competitive advantage because you are making better use of the people within your business and tacit (internal) knowledge is not easily copied. It is also fun and fits neatly into hybrid working and portfolio careers.

You might also be tempted by business advisers who tell you to stick to what you know and be a bit more logical about your approach. If you take the logical approach then once you have tried all the things that are familiar to you then the next step is to start with some of the unfamiliar. It is therefore logical to be illogical! However this unfamiliar territory is not as scary or risky as some of the larger consultancies would have you believe.

The benefits are easy to see but here is the real Why? If you can find ways of easing the pain and removing the stress of making these changes, help people feel less lost and confused by dividing things into tasks that are easily doable, then it is much less scary. In some cases, we can change what you deliver and make use of your current delivery mechanisms.

So let us keep it simple, pain and stress free and communicate every step of the way. That is why I use the expression Innovation Without Tears.

How Do I do It?

The route to Innovation Without Tears is to break things down into manageable chunks and reduce risk (and sometimes cost) by obtaining as much information as possible about your business and how it works so that we know where your Innovation potential is at its highest and where any development activities need to be carried out.

In order to make this simple, I created my Innovation Equation which breaks Innovation down into easily measurable (and hence manageable) components. Read more about Innovation Measurement.

In order to challenge the status quo and make your interventions pain free, all information gathering is completed electronically with simple questionnaires. There are no pencils and computer scoring of multiple choice questions. As much demographic information is collected as possible so we can assess potential at different levels, within business functions or across geographic locations.

Before any projects or programs get underway we will determine exactly where you stand right now. If necessary this activity can be undertaken again to measure the difference.

All of this information is combined with any background information previously supplied by your business and turned into a comprehensive picture (or report if you like) of your current position.

Any reports will be totally clear and transparent, no waffle, just a presentation of the facts along with any assumptions that have been made. This is intended to ensure that as many people as possible are on board when things begin to change. This need not just be senior management, anyone with an interest is encouraged to take a look.

Planning is of course key, but to get a good plan in place when lots of people are involved? The answer is to gather input via storyboards (or similar) and by expressing plans in a format that everyone understands. As your business is working with a little ambiguity then plans will reflect this. Maybe costs will be plus/minus 5% or profit within a range.

Everything is brought out into the open so that there is nothing unexpected.

What Do I do?

Click on the link to download an example of Derek’s work Selther Case Story .

The link above will provide a short document that will give you an idea about exactly what I do. In summary, I provide a way of analysing Innovation potential that is entirely unique and provides a useful starting point for any Innovation or Reinvention program. It can also save a lot of time and effort by focusing resources on the places where they are needed.

I also report my finding directly to company boards in a straightforward manner that makes decision making simpler.

What comes next is variable. I can use my Project management experience to help with project or program management, and deliver workshops and seminars to help with cultural change alongside change agents (think ripples spreading out on a pond). Domino Knowedgware and Intelligent Growth are just two of the methods that can be used here.

In order to get a flavour of what I do, you can watch videos here and listen to podcasts here.

Other Useful Stuff

Based in Sheffield, UK, Derek Cheshire is an Innovation practitioner who works both online and face to face with decision makers who sit around the boardroom table and affect the bottom line. Do you want to be ‘Future Ready’, Chameleon like and even be able to expand in a recession? Derek’s tools and ideas have been tried and tested within Electronics, Communications, Oil and Gas, Manufacturing and Biotech but are equally applicable to other industry sectors.

Derek’s work encompasses speaking on the topics of Creativity and Innovation as well as consulting in the areas of Innovation Strategy, Innovation Measurement, Project Management, the provision of workshops, and facilitating continuous innovation.

Derek is equally at home delivering strategic level information in the boardroom or working with operations and production staff. If you are curious about how Innovation can help to future proof your business then let’s talk.

Derek is an international speaker, having delivered his Creativity messages in places from Mexico to Iran and India. He has articles published in diverse places such as the Hindustan Times and the Malawi Guardian and also the United Nations. His Blog article “How To Generate 20 New Business Ideas Over Coffee” is a firm favourite among readers!

He is a member of the mastermind group for the Design Interaction course at the Royal College of Art and Design in The Hague, has appeared on the CNBC programme The Business of Innovation and is a Fellow of the RSA and a Fellow of the Institute of Social Innovation Creativity and Change.

Derek is a visiting Professor at VIT University, Chennai and was recently invited to the International Advisory Board of the Academic Staff College at VIT-AP University, Andrha Pradesh.

Past clients include the British Council, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Selther Manufacturing, Places for People and Swansea Metropolitan University.